Deadline for Submitting Comments

Amtrak-Ashland-VAI would like to remind everyone that we have until January 8th to submit comments to the current on-line meeting. The address is If you are looking for a “go-by” or template consider Bob Brown’s post or, for something shorter, something on the following lines.

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am opposed to the option of running a third line through the center of Ashland. This option would ruin the atmosphere of our historic town. I am also concerned at the safety issues to do with having trains so close to homes, businesses and restaurants.

The high speed rail should bypass Ashland but our town should retain its current passenger service to D.C. and Richmond.

Yours truly,



12 thoughts on “Deadline for Submitting Comments

  1. A 3rd rail would eliminate Center St on either one or both sides. This would have a HUGE negative impact on Ashland and be the death of all businesses on the track. The residents on Center St would also lose access to their driveways. I have just recently learned about this and I know a lot of people are still unaware. I hope someone can submit another article in the H-P and/or Richmond Times before Friday, the deadline! I also wish there could be another public meeting and a vote, since this will effect everyone living and working in Ashland. But I know that isn’t going to happen. Thank you!


  2. Regarding a public meeting I am thinking of saying a few words at one of the upcoming Town Council sessions. My thoughts right now are for me to focus on the safety issues to do with this proposed project (I have worked in risk management of large industrial facilities for many years). Maybe someone else could speak to the issues that you and Bob Brown raised.



    1. Can you please tell me when the next Council meeting would be? Gee, Ian… just all of it… Safety, of course, and the installation of a huge fence would even prohibit people from the college crossing over to the station. But, like I’ve said so many times… if a 3rd rail is needed, then that would eliminate Center St and our beautiful Town of Ashland “Main St.” will become a ghost town. I am not a good public speaker but maybe Kathy Abbott might present those issues since it was her that initially brought this to my attention with her post to Ashland Residents. So many residents are unaware of this as well. I understand there have been articles in the local papers and meetings for about 2 years but I’ve just been a resident for a little over 2 years and don’t subscribe to the papers. I feel so blessed to live here… just the way it is and I wouldn’t change a thing. What can I do to help, besides speak which I really don’t want to do and feel that I am not qualified since I’m only repeating what Kathy has said. Maybe Bob Brown would be willing to address Council. Thank you!


  3. January 6, 2016

    Hi Ian,

    I’m not sure where to send this, but since you seem to be heading up the local comments, here are some thoughts from Mary and me.

    Given the sad state of reliable public transportation on the East Coast, and in the US in general, the creation of a fast train looks very inviting. However, with the space constraints that exist on Railroad Avenue, we can’t see how such a train could possibly pass easily through the center of town (would it even stop here?). Rapid transit of this type requires specially designed tracks, limited grade crossings, and lots of not too attractive safeguards along the way.

    We are very much in favor of a DC to RVA high-speed train but can’t see any feasible way it could be routed through town. Let’s give more study to what has been successfully done already in many parts of the world (last century!) and come up with a workable routing plan. Thanks.

    Thank you for collecting comments on this very important issue.

    Bob & Mary Grattan
    107 Howard Street


  4. Mr. & Mrs. Grattan,

    It is my understanding that the high speed will NOT even stop in Ashland and, yes, they would need a 3rd rail, which would eliminate one or both sides of Center St. and have a HUGE negative impact on every business and resident as there would no longer be access to these businesses. There is quite an informative conversation on the Ashland Residents face book page that Kathy Abbott posted recently. That is where I first learned of any of this. There are also links within that conversation to address any concerns and learn more about this. But if you do not use face book, I know Mr. Sutton can tell you more about this and the links.

    Thank you.
    Barb Holbrook


  5. The following comment is from Pat Jordan.

    I cannot believe that your desire and plans for HIGH SPEED AND 21ST CENTURY DESIRE FOR INSTANT SOMETHING OR OTHER would lead you to destroy the center city of Ashland and its historic homes on Center St., aka Railroad Ave.

    Ashland is a town started by the RF&P Railroad before the Civil War. Ashland and its railroad was crucial during this war. An Episcopal Church was started on this railroad. Civil War officers high in the Confederate Cavalry crossed the railroad. A mustering ground was held just off the railroad on Racecourse St.

    What can you be thinking?

    Put your high speed train tracks somewhere else! How about WEST of Ashland? NOT IN MY BACKYARD.

    Pat Jordan
    103 Howard St.
    Ashland, VA 23005


  6. This was the original post that Kathy Abbott wrote on Dec 27, and it was the first time I was aware of this high-speed rail. I don’t know what time tomorrow we have to express our concerns, but I’m writing mine to them tonight. I would also like to add that I was informed the high-speed will NOT even make a stop in Ashland. And, if they opt for a 3rd rail, a high fence would have to be erected, much like the one that is pictured in Kathy’s post. The link for comments, and more information, is included within the post below:

    “The DPRT seems to be favoring a bypass to the west of Ashland, but there are two other possible scenarios — the addition of a third track (potentially eliminating Center Street on one or both sides), or the High Speed Rail will run on the existing 2 tracks. Regardless, the number of trains will DOUBLE in the next 15 years. Please take the time to let the Town Council and the DPRT know what you want for the future of the COTU. More info and a comment form at Deadline is January 8.”


  7. As an Accredited National Main Street Community, we have an obligation to protect the character and integrity of our historic downtown, as well as protect the best interests of our businesses.
    According to the National Main Street Center:
    “When faced with a potential demolition or substantial structural alteration of a significant, historic, or traditional building in the Main Street district, the Main Street program actively works to prevent the demolition or alteration, including working with appropriate partners at the state, local, or national level to attempt to stay or alter the proposed activity.”
    Ashland has never faced a greater threat to its historic assets and economic health than the DRPT proposal to build a third rail down Railroad Ave./Center St. The construction of a third rail and its requisite barriers/fences will undoubtedly:
    • Put most of our trackside retailers and restaurants out-of-business, including one of the oldest continuously-operating independent grocery stores in the country – Cross Bros.
    • Nullify the benefits of the Town’s recently completed streetscape project.
    • Decimate private property values on Center St. and beyond.
    • Create access and safety problems for pedestrians and cyclists.
    • Bring to an end events like Ashland Train Day and the Railroad Run, which will lose their attraction due to permanent barriers along the tracks.
    • Destroy the town’s character and negatively impact our recent initiatives to drive tourism in the region. One of the most attractive aspects of our historic downtown is that it looks pretty much the same way it did 100 years ago. Losing that attribute lessens the interest of heritage tourists who bring many dollars into the community.
    The bypass option is better, but Ashland will not benefit from that option either. Why not run a bypass rail for CSX and include Ashland as a stop on the hi-speed rail? We could then benefit from both Amtrak and hi-speed, with both trains slowing down to allow passengers to enjoy all that is wonderful in the Center of the Universe!

    Tom Wulf, Ashland Main Street Association


    1. Tom:
      Thanks for your input.

      I intend to speak at the next Town Council meeting. I will submit a written copy of my remarks prior to the event (and post it here). There are three issues that I will address:

      1. The “cultural” issues.
      2. Safety – something I have worked on for much of my career.
      3. Economic impact – a topic that you raise in your post.



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